1st Sunday of Advent – 2010
Several years ago I visited the United Nations with our IPA representatives Sisters Sharon Altendorf and Fatima Rodrigo. I saw the statue called "Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares" - a wonderful representation of Is 2:1-5. “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” The bronze statue represents the figure of a man holding a hammer in one hand and, in the other, a sword which he is making into a plowshare, symbolizing humanity’s desire to put an end to war and convert the means of destruction into creative tools for the benefit of everyone.
This first reading from Isaiah is prophetic and a hopeful vision but how does it apply to us? Isaiah is hopeful that many people and nations shall come to the Lord’s house to learn of God’s ways and to walk in God’s paths. One of the consequences will be universal peace. All nations will allow God to mediate their disputes, and they shall beat their swords into plowshares. “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, that God may teach us to walk in God’s ways. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” We are invited to come to God’s mountain, to come to God’s peace. We are invited to come to that place in our lives that we convert our warring swords, our warring words, our warring dispositions into plowshares, into peace, into the possibility of walking in the light.
Psalm122 is positive and encourages people of faith to “go rejoicing to the house of the Lord… According to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord”. We are encouraged to pray for peace with rejoicing and with confidence that our prayers for peace for ourselves and all those we love will be heard. The Gospel of Matthew calls us to an active faith, not just membership in a church that professes faith. It is not enough just to pray for peace, we need to work for peace as Michael Jackson invites us in his song “Heal the World”. “We could fly so high Let our spirits never die In my heart I feel you are all my brothers Create a world with no fear Together we'll cry happy tears See the nations turn their swords into plowshares.” May we long for the day when this vision becomes a reality and hatred, intolerance, violence and war will be no more.
— Helen Martinez, PBVM
Prayer For Vocations to Peacemaking
Dear God, the harvest is plenty and the laborers are few. Your people long for peace,
they thirst for justice. Send into our midst women and men whose hearts can embrace the entire world. Send into our midst young and old, from all your beloved cultures and races, who offer their arms to lift up the lowly and oppressed. Send into our midst new peacemakers who will walk with the powerless, as well as those in power to proclaim your teaching and to witness against hate, greed, fear and strife. Create us anew as your peacemakers, O God,
and send us your peace.
— From Pax Christi